Date:Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Author:Christian Ward

In this episode, Stylus speaks to Rex Woodbury, principal at Index Ventures, and Julia Errens, Editor of Pop Culture & Media at Stylus, about the reinvention of social media in the post-pandemic era.

Guests on this Episode

Rex Woodbury is principal at global venture capital firm Index Ventures and writer of the Substack newsletter Digital Native.

Julia Errens is editor of Pop Culture & Media at Stylus.

Episode Discussion Points

  • Rex on his work at Index and his journey to venture capital investing [0:51]
  • How consumer behaviour has changed as a result of the pandemic [4:37]
  • What shifts in behaviour are happening on social media? [6:15]
  • On the opportunity in niche and single-use apps [10:04]
  • On the rise of digital doubles and the future of avatars [15:03]
  • Why gaming is at the vanguard of future consumer trends [20:10]

Key Quotes

"The performative aspects of social media have faded away as younger users – who are digital natives, who are more authentic and vulnerable online and share more of themselves – have embraced the self-expression that platforms like TikTok offer." [6:59]
Rex Woodbury

"Simplicity is what scores really well against the time-sink environments that the Facebook portfolio presents. [Apps like TikTok] are much more powerful in enabling people to actually have a life worth sharing if they so choose, rather than focusing on creating a personality online that doesn't necessarily reflect a reality." [8:59]
Julia Errens

"We're seeing that shift towards people creating. And part of that is the tools that enable you to create are easier. It's much easier with no-code tools and TikTok to create a video than the knowledge required to create a YouTube video. But also it's this culture of creation, of people remixing each other, jumping on each other's trends and sounds and challenges." [13:04]
Rex Woodbury

"[The use of avatars] embodies a lot of what we've spoken about – this rejection of internet perfection, of people always feeling like they need to be airbrushed and curated, the pressure to perform online. Now people can express themselves without necessarily feeling like they're always being judged on their appearance, or need to be." [16:19]
Rex Woodbury

"[Avatars] allow people to actually interface with the sort of peers with whom they share an interest in a much more authentic way, by letting them remove themselves a bit from the everyday face that they present to people. And rather than this being inauthentic, I think it's actually much more of a sense of virtual code-switching. And it's really exciting in terms of creating a much more wholesome social landscape, to allow people to connect over shared interests versus self-presentation." [17:41]
Julia Errens

"I really think for the last decade, a lot of these 'gaming companies' have really been social networks masquerading as gaming companies. A lot of people go to Fortnite, not necessarily to win anymore, but just to hang out with friends." [20:20]
Rex Woodbury

Like what you hear? Don’t forget to subscribe to future episodes. And click here to listen to the podcast.

< Back to all posts